Right to counsel

Key_development Question_mark

Litigation, Civil Commitment

In In re Fisher, 39 Ohio St. 2d 71, 74, 313 N.E.2d 851, 854 (Ohio 1974), the Ohio Supreme Court declared a federal constitutional right to counsel in civil commitment proceedings. The court described in detail "the scope and gravity of the constitutional rights involved and the serious deprivations of liberty resulting from involuntary civil commitment."  These included the procedural infirmities associated with such proceedings (such as the unavailability of appellate review) and the various statutory restrictions placed on the mentally disabled. As the court explained, appointment of counsel was necessary in commitment proceedings because "[t]here is no mandatory requirement that anyone protect the rights of the individual."

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no